Initial Reflections + Storify from #Gallerycamp13 #letsmakestuff 26/11/13.

Initial Reflections + Storify from #Gallerycamp13 #letsmakestuff 26/11/13.

Big thanks to all of you who came to the #gallerycamp13 #letsmakestuff workshops at Birmingham City University’s Parkside Campus yesterday (26/11/13).

Image courtesy of @poojadat

The workshops proved how the #makeymakey inspires folk into making, doing and creating. It’s such an amazing piece of kit and I would heartily encourage those of you who came up with such great ideas to build on them and pursue them … and tell the world about the day. Indeed, go out and buy the #makeymakey or other great devices such as the Raspberry Pi  to realise those ideas and where necessary bring in the investment to make your decisions a reality.

In terms of addressing the opportunities and challenges of galleries and other arts organisations, giving creative people the kit to realise ideas simply and effectively is so important. The #makeymakey is one such example.

It taps into the bigger agenda of encouraging arts organisations to do this stuff – to embrace digital technologies – and how they can address ideas in their simplest and purest form.

Set a challenge … get a few materials together … come up with a solution! As Mark Brill said at yesterday’s event, it’s not teleportation that we’re doing here! It’s something much more impactful.

Much more reflection and content to come. What did you think of the event yesterday? What’s your view of the makeymakey? Drop me a tweet @timmy666.

As a starter for ten, please check out the Storify from yesterday’s event – please click here.


Reflections on Digital City Culture Day: “Fostering an ecology of experimentation”

Last Wednesday, 6th November 2013, the BBC hosted the Digital City Culture Day (#BhamDCCD), an event about the future – funding, investment, opportunities – encouraging cross-discipline collaboration in the cultural and digital industries in Birmingham, showcasing best practice and offer networking opportunities.

One of the more inspirational presentations from Wednesday’s event was by Matt Davenport from the most brilliant Pervasive Media studio to talk about their work and  projects.

I am a fan of what Pervasive Media do, and have followed their work as well as other businesses and programmes at The Watershed over a number of years. In addition to Matt providing a number of case studies (such as the Danceroom Spectroscopy project, the Hello Lamp Post in Bristol or  Makey-Makey-styled inspired Piano Stairs in Stockholm from a few years now (see below)), it was in PM’s approach that was most interesting.

Beyond the projects themselves, which undeniably appeal to the creatives in us, what stood out was PM’s approach of fun and play, what Matt called “an ecology of experimentation”. Matt invited us to embrace some key principles in their approach:

  • Fail good and fail fast
  • Be up for a punt
  • The importance of community
  • Tell brilliant stories
  • Be promiscuous

Hello Lamp Post from PAN Studio on Vimeo.

Behind these projects, there’s a lot of serious hard work required to realising “great creative ideas”. Peta Murphy-Burke commented that a key part to all this is the role of digital cultural producers working across the arts and cultural sector to work on good programmes, ensuring great ideas become collaborations, services, products, solutions – not just artistically but also, importantly, commercially.

There is a great amount of knowledge and expertise in Birmingham – and there is such opportunity to share resources. Being the host,  the BBC can (obviously) play a big part in this, and  this was explicitly alluded to by the Beeb themselves at the event. I am intrigued to see what The Mailbox can/will offer to the business community!

The role of Universities are also vital in brokering opportunities and collaborations across the creative, cultural and digital sectors such the CATH project at the University of Birmingham, the Cross Innovation programme at Birmingham City University.

In the spirit of play and fun, and to pool such resources, I am running an event hosted by Birmingham City University at their new Parkside Campus with support from Arts Council England on Tuesday November 26th, which is all about fun, play and operating within the fore said “ecology of experimentation“.

Building on the #Gallerycamp13 unconference held in September,  whether you’re a cultural or a digital professional, producer, consultant, geek, mover, shaker or entrepeneur, this is an open source/open space event to build great ideas/opportunities/products (using Makey Makeys) based on key themes/issues highlighted for galleries (including artists, curators, managers etc.) and related arts individuals/organisations, encourage people to work out of their silos or work cultures.

This is a great time to pool resources and get those creative ideas into motion. In a nutshell, let’s make stuff! To book your FREE place on the event, book here. Places are limited.

For more on the day, check out Ashwin Bolar’s #Storify of the event here.

A Colourful Crowd Presents …. Sue Beardsmore

A Colourful Crowd Presents …. Sue Beardsmore

Presenting You with Sue Beardsmore
Saturday 16th November
11am-3pm at The New Art Gallery Walsall.Places are strictly limited.

Tickets are £5 and include refreshments.

To book, please call 01922 654400.

A Colourful Crowd is delighted to welcome former Midlands Today presenter Sue Beardsmore to The New Art Gallery Walsall for a half day workshop all about developing and presenting ‘brand’ you!

Understanding how to present yourself is a very important part of your own development.
Whether it’s a job interview, a meeting, a networking event, a presentation, a tv or radio spot or a performance, this event is all about you!In this session with Sue, you will develop a whole host of skills, have some fun, play some games, do some exercises and ultimately go one step further in your own development, wherever you are.

Join us on the 16th November for what promises to be a fun and worthwhile workshop.

To book, please call 01922 654400.

About Sue

Sue Beardsmore worked for BBC television for over 25 years on daily news. She was one of the main presenters of Midlands Today, and was happy working in front of, or behind the cameras. She has extensive production, writing and coaching experience, both inside and outside the BBC.

She is now a media skills consultant and trainer – working with everyone from school children to chief executives on presentation and media skills in the UK and abroad..

She has a BA in English and Politics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and an MA in Mass communications from the University of Leicester. She is Chair of Governors of a Birmingham Primary School, and a member of the West Midlands Committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

I am passing over the mantle – #jellylincoln

I am passing over the mantle – #jellylincoln

After two years, I’m passing over the mantle of running #jellylincoln to Chris Heighton from Lincoln University. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using Coffee Aroma as a great independent coffee shop and base for Jelly and for meeting with lots of great people and businesses. So thank you. It has been fun.

Jelly Lincoln continues … Thursday 24th October from 10am-2pm. More details ….





Join us for – co-working – collaboration – creativity – chat & coffee at Jelly Lincoln

#JellyLincoln is an opportunity for University staff, students and Lincoln-based businesses and organisations to meet informally, exchange help, advice and ideas but also to explore new projects, partnerships and collaborations. The idea behind Jelly is that you bring your work to the event, so if your working on research, strategy, essays, external projects, funding applications, course modules – bring your laptop, books and your work with you!
 Jelly Lincoln has been running in the city since 2011, but this is the first ever event on campus, so join us on 24th October in the Café area of the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre anytime from 10.00am – 2.00pmThe idea is to hold a Jelly event once a month on either a Thursday or Friday at different locations across the University Brayford Campus.  Jelly UK is a nationwide network and you can find further information at the following link -  

No need to book, just turn up on the day between 10.00am and 2.00pm on 24th October 

(Free Tea and Coffee and possibly Cake too!) 
Join us for #YouthWM Twitter Chat – every Thursday 1-2pm

Join us for #YouthWM Twitter Chat – every Thursday 1-2pm

2012-08-29 15.52.21resized

Following positive feedback at last year’s event at the mac Birmingham, How can we better engage young people in arts and culture activity?, the #YouthWM twitter chat takes place ever Thursday from 1-2pm.

Join the chat by adding the hashtag #youthwm into your tweets!

Every week the chat will be the place to go to:

  • Exchange news, info and opportunities related to arts, culture and creativity for children and young people
  • Meet new (and existing) friends and peers
  • Learn new things and get advice from others
  • Share your ideas, thoughts, research and opinions
  • Gain new followers
  • Build collaborations
  • Demonstrate and share your expertise and knowledge
  • Have fun   ….and anything else you desire.

Join the chat #youthwm every Thursday from 1-2pm. See you online!


Quick roundup from #Gallerycamp2013

Quick roundup from #Gallerycamp2013


With over 770 tweets/hits on the day itself, #Gallerycamp13 was a huge success and very positively received by all who attended.

Here’s an initial roundup of some of the content both on the day and post-event.

Content from the day
I have put together a Storify roundup of the twitter coverage on the day. There’s a huge amount of content from the day to go through and review.

If any of you haven’t shared your photos/images from the day yet, please can you do so via twitter, flickr, instagram etc, using the #gallerycamp13 hashtag or even email them to me

Review/blog pieces from others
Roundup from Simon Gray of his thoughts from the day.
Lorna Prescott has written a blog on #gallerycamp13 – galleries, introverts and conversations here.
A few Google doc bits and bobs from James Cattell including sum up tweets from a couple of sessions he facilitated here and a write up of the sessions on the pitching wall here.

If you’ve blogged or written something on #gallerycamp13 – please do send me a link or share accordingly!

Here are some my images from the day …. 


Is there a lack of courtesy from employers?

Would you want to work for any organisation that publicly says it doesn’t want to communicate with you?


I’m sure that this is not lost on the many of you who apply for work/tenders/jobs but how many job/person/application specs contain a line along roughly announcing, “if you do not hear from us, then you can assume that your application has not been successful?!”.

For me, this shows a basic lack of courtesy!

I can go through the process of applying for something, showing and demonstrating all the enthusiasm and relevant knowledge for wanting to work with or for an business, but that is very quickly eroded just from the few missteps in communication that the aforesaid business takes.

What’s arguably worse is any organisation who even fails to acknowledge your correspondence! A previous colleague at a former public sector funded organisation always (and rightly) said that, at worse, a client/customer email should be at least acknowledged within 24 hours and then dealt with as quickly as possible. This should be no different in the jobs/employment marketplace.

Just as a bad a faux pas, is an organisation who tells you precise dates of when they will be deciding who should be called for interview, as well as the actual date(s) when interviews are scheduled to take places, then for all those days to pass with no correspondence on the change of dates.

Equally, I’m not particularly sympathetic with the additional line, “due to the sheer number of applications we have received etc, etc” if they’re then late in acknowledging something they could clearly see coming ahead of the application deadline.

So, I am writing this blog piece having had a whole flurry of poor correspondence from various businesses and organisations.

The bottom line is I don’t think I want to work with any organisation who doesn’t communicate – what does that say to you about their own work culture if they can’t get some basic recruitment fundamentals in check!

A few tips. As an applicant, you should never have to chase but you should always request a receipt of application when you send one in.

As an employer, please plan the employment process and communicate accordingly. It is just very wrong to not have the common courtesy to acknowledge every applicant (and in good time) whether it letting them know if they have been successful or unsuccessful (no matter how many applications you receive), or that you are having to change dates or times for interview.

What do you think? Let me know on twitter @timmy666.

Let’s Play Workshops for Small Creative Businesses are here.

Let’s Play Workshops for Small Creative Businesses are here.

Over on my sister site, indieLove, I have just launched a new workshop series starting in Birmingham and delivered in partnership with Crafty Skills.

The Let’s Play Workshops are based around getting to grips with and having lots of fun with business tools.

Click here for more information.

Load More